Monday, January 13, 2014

Team Canada 1964 Olympic Preparation

Seth Martin makes a save

Fifty years ago exactly, Canada's Olympic hockey team was commencing a pre-Olympic exhibition tour. The second game took place January 10, 1964 in Munich, West Germany. Father David Bauer's Canadian National Hockey team defeated the West German champions EV Fuessen 4-1. The exhibition match in Canada'a build up to the Olympic Games at Innsbruck was the second win in two games so far in Europe for Bauer's boys. Earlier they had romped Fuessen 9-5. 
On this day, Brian Conacher (son of Lionel Conacher) scored a pair and Terry Clancy (son of King Clancy) scored once. Caanda's fourth goal was tallied by Gary Dineen. CAHA President Art Potter reported that the Canadian team had been receiving good press and that German sports writers had dubbed the squad "Vater Bauer ind seine Blitz Buben" or "Father Bauer and his Whiz Kids."

The following game against Erc Mannheim would be far less of a contest as the Nats won by 13-0. More than 500 Canadian servicemen stationed in Baden Baden joined the crowd of 11,000 in the open-air stadium. Brian Conacher, Ray Cadieux and Al McLean each scored two while singles were scored by Ross Morrison, Roger Bourbonnais, Gary Dineen, George Swarbrick, Gary Begg, Terry Clancy and Dave Merrifield.

On January 14, Father Bauer named his final roster of 17 players from the 21 who were travelling with the team. The four who remained with the team but did not play in the Olympics were goalie Rick Broadbelt,  defenceman Jack Wilson and forwards Al McLean and David Merrifield. In Geneva that night, the team tied a squad of Canadian professionals playing in Europe by a score of 4-4.

On January 15 before 15,000 Muscovites at the Sports Palace, the Candians were outclassed by the Russian Olympic team by a score of 8-1. Father Bauer stated afterward, "When you are beaten 8-1 there's nothing much you can say. The Russians were better in all departments, except maybe in goal." Brian Conacher picks up the story in his autobiography, "Hockey In Canada, The Way It Is",
"Our journey to Moscow started at 6 am following the game in Switzerland. The journey to Moscow itself was as gruelling as any hockey game I'd ever played in. The flights were ominously delayed at various stops along the route, and we were put through several tiresome baggage checks, including our last stop at the hotel in Moscow at 3 am the following morning. Needless to say we weren't in much shape to play the next day, and the Russians bombed us 8-1."

Two days later the Canadians were scheduled to play the Russian Olympic team again, but instead the Soviets decided to face the young Canadians with their reserve team. Canada fared better this day, losing only by 2-1 on a goal from Terry O'Malley. Allan Starodub of the Soviet News Agency Tass wrote after the game;
"The physical strength and recklessness of the young Canadians is not enough to defeat opponents who are not afraid of tough playing. The Canadians need more skill in defence and variety in attack."
He added, "Except for goalie Seth Martin, the lack of players of high individual skill is glaringly obvious on the Canadian team, whereas almost all members of the Soviet First National team are masters."

Canada would next fall to the Czech Olympic team in Prague by a score of 6-0 before losing once again to a "B" squad losing 6-4 to the Czech reserves at Pardubice. In the first game before 14,000 spectators Czech news agency CTK described goalie Ken Broderick, Terry O'Malley, Roger Bourbonnais, Brian Conacher and George Swabrick as the best players on Canada. In the second game in Czechoslovakia, Swabrick scored two and O'Malley and Dineen had singles in the loss in front of 13,000.
Canada would gain some slight revenge by beating the same Czech "B" team 4-3 in Bratislava the following night. Conacher, Barry MacKenzie, Marshall Johnston and Gary Dineen scored for the Nats.

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